CCEA Curriculum Symposium 2022

Curriculum Symposium

CCEA Curriculum Symposium 2022

Taking Stock of the Curriculum and Staying Ahead

More than 160 attendees from across the region’s educational landscape came together at CCEA’s Curriculum Symposium 2022 Taking Stock of the Curriculum and Staying Ahead to focus on the Northern Ireland skills-based curriculum.

The online event in January 2022 aimed to capture the importance of connected learning and progression pathways as well as learn about developments in other jurisdictions.

Delegates heard from a range of schools, education partners, academics and industry representatives from Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland and across the UK.

Key themes from the presentations and discussions on the day included:

  • The Northern Ireland Curriculum is fit for purpose. The flexibility and skills-based approach allows the challenges of the modern world to be addressed.
  • Attendees however highlighted:
    • A need to go beyond the traditional prescriptive demands of acquiring knowledge and focus on the holistic development of the child or young person.
    • There is a need for consistency in the implementation of the Northern Ireland Curriculum.
    • There is tension between the skills-based curriculum and the current examination system.
    • There is a challenge in the Key Stage 3 to Key Stage 4 transition where the focus turns to high stakes exams. Perception is that anything not assessed risks not being valued.
  • The pandemic will have impacted the implementation of the curriculum and qualifications as intended but young people may have developed some new skills.
  • There is a need in Northern Ireland to articulate where future opportunities for economic growth are and to direct efforts within education towards them.
  • A greater emphasis in careers teaching is needed. There is a need for more vocational pathways.
  • There is a demand for continuous professional learning for teachers.

Attendees at the symposium indicated there is an appetite for further discussion. The next steps for CCEA curriculum planning and monitoring will focus on points identified as key in the 2018 monitoring round, for example to obtain feedback from young people and employers, and the key themes and feedback from the symposium.  The themes and feedback link with the actions from current educational priorities such as A Fair Start action plan.

Hear from our speakers

Kathleen O’Hare - Symposium Chairperson and Chair of the Education Committee of CCEA Council

Kathleen O’HareKathleen O’Hare is Chair of the Education Committee of the Council for CCEA. A former member of Senate at QUB, Kathleen currently serves on several boards including Belfast Metropolitan College where she is Vice-Chair and chairs the Curriculum, Quality and Engagement Committee, the Integrated Education Fund and the Board of Governors of Newbridge Integrated College. She is also a member of the Department of Education’s Expert Panel for A Fair Start and the Teachers’ Regulation Agency in England and Wales. From 2002-2018 Kathleen was Principal of two postprimary schools - St Cecilia’s College, Derry and Hazelwood Integrated College, North Belfast. During this time, she was awarded numerous accolades including UK Headteacher of the Year, Blackboard Headteacher of the Year, Freeman of the City of London and made a Fellow of the International Peace School in Messines. Since retirement as a college Principal Kathleen has continued her services to education by working on international leadership projects in Taiwan, Brazil, Melbourne, Brussels and the MENA Region for the British Council. She is also Vice-Chair of Newry Cathedral Parish Pastoral Council and a regular contributor to BBC Thought for the Day.

Watch Kathleen's Presentation

Faustina Graham - Chief Inspector of the Education Training Inspectorate (ETI)

Faustina GrahamFaustina Graham was appointed to the post of Chief Inspector of the Education Training Inspectorate (ETI) in the Department of Education (DE) in September 2020. She brings a wealth of experience to the post having previously held the position of Assistant Chief Inspector. Within ETI Faustina leads initiatives on creative learning and performance measurement. She began her career as an English and Drama teacher going on to be Principal Inspector of English in ETI. She has also worked in a range of senior policy roles in the Department including Policy Director for Shared Education and Integrated and Irish medium education. She also led the development of Learning Leaders – DE’s strategy for teacher professional learning and leadership development. Most recently before returning to ETI, she was Director for Curriculum, Qualifications and Standards which included leading the Department’s work on distance and remote learning during the pandemic.

Watch Faustina's Presentation

Mark Lee - Director of Tertiary Education Reform for The Department for the Economy (DFE)

Mark LeeMark Lee joined the Department for the Economy in September 2021 in a new role as Director of Tertiary Education Reform. One of his key initial areas of focus will be vocational qualification reform. Prior to joining DFE, Mark spent nearly 7 years in the Department of Health in several roles including Director of Mental Health, Disability and Older People, Director of Primary Care and Director of Healthcare Transformation. Mark has also worked in several Whitehall Departments, starting his career in the NIO, working in the Cabinet Office and spending a number of years at what was DCLG, mainly on housing and planning issues.

Watch Mark's Presentation

Professor Graham Donaldson - Former Chief Inspector of Education in Scotland

Professor Graham DonaldsonProfessor Graham Donaldson, former Chief Inspector of Education in Scotland who led development of the Welsh curriculum and is involved in the review of the Scottish Qualifications Authority. Graham has spent over 40 years in education and has worked in schools, universities, and local and central government. A qualified teacher of history and social science, he taught and occupied senior local positions in Scotland before working at the national level as a curriculum developer and evaluator. In 1983 he was appointed as one of Her Majesty’s Inspectors of Education (HMI) and rose to become head of the Scottish Inspectorate (HMIE) from 2002 – 2010. In that role he was Chief Executive of the agency and Chief Professional Advisor on Education to the Scottish Government.

Watch Graham's Presentation

Ben Murray - Director of Curriculum and Assessment with the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NCCA)

Ben MurrayBen Murray, Director of Curriculum and Assessment with the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NCCA) will discuss junior cycle and senior cycle reform and redevelopment to encourage a more skills-based approach in the Republic of Ireland.

Watch Ben's Presentation

Professor Tony Gallagher - Professor of Education at Queen’s University Belfast (QUB)

Professor Tony GallagherTony Gallagher is Professor of Education at Queen’s University Belfast and former Head of the School of Education and Pro Vice Chancellor. Professor Gallagher’s main research interests lie in the role of education in divided societies and the civic role of higher education. He has worked for the past 20 years on Shared Education and school collaboration in Northern Ireland and abroad. Queen’s University received a Queen’s Anniversary Award from Buckingham Palace in 2020 in recognition of the impact of the work on Shared Education.

Watch Tony's Presentation

Mark Huddleston – Joint CEO of Makers Alliance

Mark HuddlestonMark Huddleston, from Makers Alliance, is working with key stakeholders including Invest NI / Dept. for Economy, Manufacturing NI, universities, further education colleges and councils to address the needs of manufacturers across Northern Ireland. Mark has more than 20 years’ industry experience. He is committed to developing STEM profile in schools and with young people working in conjunction with regional government to support the new 10x Skills Strategy, furthering the implementation of apprenticeship and youth training policy and widening participation in lifelong learning.

Watch Mark's Presentation

Hear from our schools